Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#MeToo

I've never interacted with people - at least that I know of - who have been victims of sexual assault. It's possible seeing these many posts on social media that I've interacted with mainly women who were victims of sexual harassment. This should help me keep in mind that I and other men should be careful of our body language and words to women.

Of course I also learned through Terry Crews a former NFL player turned actor that men can also be sexually assaulted or harassed. Perhaps it's a lot more common with men than we realize. There is a lot of focus on women - which is understandable - men are expected to handle their business and take care of themselves.

The stories I've seen out there of "me too" give me some pause. Stories of outright molestation as children or even inappropriate comments of men making crude comments based upon appearance. There are even stories of sexual assaults as adolescents or even as adults. I can now recognize the extensiveness of the these issues and for how long many have dealt with them.

What I can say is men like to look at women and vice-versa, perhaps this attention does make some people uncomfortable. And believe me I have recognized this although no harm was intended. There have been times I hadn't not only minded my body language, but my words as well. It's something I can always strive to do much better with as a man.

With this said I have been around men or even women who don't always mind their body language or words. Sometimes the men I've met have been out there as far as the attractive women around them. Less commonly there have been a handful of women who were the same way. They can start running their mouths and perhaps forcefully when they find men who are attractive.

Finally seeing the #MeToo and some of these stories I had comment that it's a shame that it took the Harvey Weinstein scandal to bring this out. Also it took the decade old recording of Donald Trump and Billy Bush released during last year's presidential race to also bring out these stories of sexual harassment and assault. These are definitely conversations we should always have.

Someone out there has been in a situation that made them uncomfortable. Also someone out there has been assaulted by someone. Hopeful the more stories come out as far as what happened between everyday people, the more many of us will be far more mindful.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Remembering a mudered civil rights pioneer

Alberta Jones
Upon finding out about an article from Very Smart Bros I also found this article from the New York Times which I will share with you today.
I want to say, how very sorry I had been about finally discover this. A young black woman Alberta Jones an attorney was beaten and thrown into the Ohio River and left to drown in August 1965. Why was she murdered? She came back to Louisville, Kentucky to shake things up after graduating from the Howard University Law School. Shaking things up was certainly a dangerous thing to do back then especially in the segregated south.
Alberta Jones is the civil rights pioneer almost no one knows. She was Louisville’s first female black prosecutor and negotiated the first fight contract for Muhammad Ali, her neighbor. She registered thousands of African-American voters in the 1960s and paved the way for a ban on racial discrimination by local theaters and lunch counters.
...
Ms. Jones’s name is absent from the annals of civil rights martyrs of the 1960s, perhaps because there is no clear evidence that her death was racially or politically motivated. Louisville, on the dividing line between North and South, largely avoided the harshest violence of the era, like church bombings and the murder of civil rights workers by white supremacists, and today does not have the immediate resonance of, say, Birmingham, Ala.

Still, the city Ms. Jones returned to in 1959 after graduating from Howard University School of Law was deeply segregated. Blacks could not enter movie theaters or restaurants in the city’s commercial heart, Fourth Street, or try on clothes at department stores.

Ms. Jones helped establish the Independent Voters Association, which registered 6,000 African-Americans. Voting as a bloc, blacks replaced the mayor of Louisville and many of the city’s aldermen in 1961. Two years later these officials outlawed racial discrimination in businesses, the first public accommodation ordinance of its kind in the South.

“We taught the Negros how to use that voting machine,” Ms. Jones told The Courier-Journal in March 1965. It was shortly after she became a city prosecutor, the first woman of any race in that job in Louisville. “When I got back home a lot of people said, ‘You’ve got two strikes against you: You’re a woman and you’re a Negro,’” she told the newspaper. “Yeah, but I’ve still got one strike left, and I’ve seen people get home runs when all they’ve got left is one strike.”

Ms. Jones lived in Louisville’s majority-black West End with her mother and sister, just a couple of blocks from the young Cassius Clay. In 1960, the future Muhammad Ali hired her to represent him when he turned professional. She negotiated a contract with 11 white millionaires, the famous Louisville Sponsoring Group. Protective of her client, she insisted that 15 percent of his winnings be held in trust until he turned 35, with Ms. Jones serving as a co-trustee. Today the contract hangs on the wall of the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
I sincerely hope that after over 50 years that Ms. Jones will finally get justice for her murder. Unfortunately she gave her life fighting for the civil rights of Blacks in Louisville. And this article illustrates that investigators are continuing to look for her killers. Unfortunately the passage of time has made that very difficult.
On the night Ms. Jones was murdered, Aug. 5, 1965, witnesses saw two black males drag a screaming woman into the back seat of a car like the Ford Fairlane Ms. Jones was driving, according to police records. Her body, with trauma to the head and face, was retrieved from the river near an amusement park in the West End. A large quantity of blood stained the back seat of the Fairlane, discovered nearby, which she had rented while her own car was in the shop.

Ms. [Flora] Shanklin believes that whoever murdered her sister was paid by others. “I don’t know who, but she stepped on some toes,” she said.
There has been some breaks and some connections to this murder. A print was matched to someone who is an elderly man now but was only 17 back then. Regardless hopefully there will be justice for Jones, however, steps are being taken to recognize her contributions:
Next month a Louisville civic group plans to hang a giant banner with Ms. Jones’s portrait on a bank building on Muhammad Ali Boulevard. It will join other portraits downtown honoring prominent people with Louisville roots, including Diane Sawyer and Colonel Harland Sanders of fast-food fame.

Professor Remington hopes the banner will prick someone’s memory — or conscience — about what happened to Ms. Jones 52 years ago. “She spent her whole life fighting for others,” she said. “It’s time somebody started fighting for her.”
I'm a long way from Louisville, Kentucky which is about five hours away from Chicago - yes I know this thanks to the many trip taken on the Greyhound through the city and with layovers. Hopefully someone will fight for her.

As you read this article you noticed she represents the late boxing champion Muhammad Ali right. There was an angle to Ms. Jones' murder involved the Nation of Islam. Ali was at one point associated with them.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Straight Black male privilege

[VIDEO] I posted the video from Anthony Brian Logan above over at E.M. last month and he discussed an article making its rounds on social media discussing "straight Black men are the white people of Black people". Huh? What does that even mean?

Well here's just a flavor of what's being written over at Very Smart Bros because this is their article:
It feels counterintuitive to suggest that straight black men as a whole possess any sort of privilege—particularly the type of privilege created for and protected by whiteness. In America, we are near or at the bottom in every relevant metric determining quality of life. Our arrest and incarceration rates, our likelihood of dying a violent death, our likelihood of graduating high school and attending college, our employment rates, our average net worth, our likelihood of surviving past 70—I could continue, but the point is clear.

But assessing our privilege (or lack thereof) on these facts considers only our relationship with whiteness and with America. Intraracially, however, our relationship to and with black women is not unlike whiteness’s relationship to us. In fact, it’s eerily similar.

We’re the ones for whom the first black president created an entire initiative to assist and uplift. We’re the ones whose beatings and deaths at the hands of the police galvanize the community in a way that the beatings and sexual assaults and deaths that those same police inflict upon black women do not. We’re the ones whose mistreatment inspired a boycott of the NFL despite the NFL’s long history of mishandling and outright ignoring far worse crimes against black women. We are the ones who get the biggest seat at the table and the biggest piece of chicken at the table despite making the smallest contribution to the meal.
So Black men or straight Black men have "privilege". Since Donald Trump became our President we've been hearing more about white male privilege and that actually makes some sense. Although to be fair the demonization of white males are really uncalled for. I do however understand where the idea comes from and sometimes I have to unwrap my mind from that idea.

With that said straight Black male privilege is certain an odd concept. If this is all about the struggle of Blacks in America why even decide to separate us like this. Black males have had a hard time in America and perhaps Black women has it worse. The last thing I want to ignore is any crimes against Black women - well really any women for that matter.

Still straight Black male privilege? Let's go further:
But when black women share that we pose the same existential and literal danger to them that whiteness does to us; and when black women ask us to give them the benefit of the doubt about street harassment and sexual assault and other forms of harassment and violence we might not personally witness; and when black women tell us that allowing our cousins and brothers and co-workers and niggas to use misogynistic language propagates that culture of danger; and when black women admit how scary it can be to get followed and approached by a man while waiting for a bus or walking home from work; and when black women articulate how hurtful it is for our reactions to domestic abuse and their rapes and murders to be “what women need to do differently to prevent this from happening to them” instead of “what we (men) need to do differently to prevent us from doing this to them,” their words are met with resistance and outright pushback. After demanding from white people that we’re listened to and believed and that our livelihoods are considered, our ears shut off and hearts shut down when black women are pleading with us.

Making things worse is that black women and girls are also black people in America—a fact we seem to forget whenever possessing a bad memory is convenient. The effects of racism—metaphysical and literal—and the existential dread and dangers felt when existing while black are not exclusive to black men and boys. They face the same racisms we do and the same doubts from whites about whether the racism actually exists that we do, and then they’re forced to attempt to convince their brothers and partners and friends and fathers and cousins and lovers of the dangers of existing as black women, and they’re met with the same doubts. The same resistance. The same questions. They are not believed in the (predominantly white) world or in their (predominantly black) communities. And we (black men) remain either uninterested in sincerely addressing and destructing this culture of danger and pervasive doubt or refuse to admit it even exists.
And yet straight Black males have privilege. Black women should be and are defended by strong males especially from disrespect. Whether this is from other Black men or men from other ethnicities.

At the same time when singling out straight Black men, I wonder if this was going to be a piece about gay Black men. Nothing is mentioned at all about sexual orientation. This was a piece regarding heterosexual Black men and their lack of acknowlegement of Black women's fears with regards to being Black in America.

One thing this piece has done on social media and in this video by Anthony Brian Logan is that it got people talking.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Las Vegas

It literally boggles my mind that a man with no discernible motive rains bullets down on people enjoying some country music. Everyone including his family is trying to figure this man out. In the meanwhile we mourn and pray for those who were killed or affected by this shooting on the Las Vegas strip.

Looking at some of the photos of the crime scene, last year I walked by the area on the strip. This makes this incident even more unbelievable!

Found this info over at the CapFax this morning. If you want to check on someone out there to see if they're OK use this info.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Marking the purchase of a new iPhone

[VIDEO] Ten years ago I bought a Motorola Razr phone which at that point was the most stylish phone of the time. It wasn't very difficult to find that phone is some of the TV series of that time which was roughly late 2000s. Essentially it was the first phone I owned that had a camera, and this was for the most part a new thing. Camera phones more or less became available roughly mid-2000s.

That same year 2007, came the first iPhone - the product launch you see above and this was something I slept on. It was likely I was aware during that time of Apple computers , however, it was in my head that they were expensive. Not only that I largely had used a PC all my life, which includes computers at my mother's job, at school, or even at home. An Apple - or a Mac if you will - would be a new concept which at that point and still even now, I was unwilling to even make the transition. Although I always thought Apple computers did things easier than a PC could.

Anyway, I had little concept back then of this so-called "smartphone" and still being in college at the time all that occurred to me with such phones where that they were expensive. Not just for the phones themselves but the other services they offered such as text, internet, email, ect. If the phone cost $100 - let's just say - then the additional services could cost just as much. And it wasn't until roughly 2010 when I started working that it was necessary to enter the smartphone era with a Blackberry Bold.

Then it was interesting that by 2012, I transitioned to an iPhone 4S. I went from a Razr flip phone, to a Blackberry that had a physical keyboard with a tracking pad to scroll the screen, and then to a total touch screen device. The 4S remains my one of my favorite phones of all time although eventually I had to transition to another iPhone two years later.

Another thing I recognize is how the transmission of photos have changed. Many of the photos there on this blog and others I've started over the years were in the beginning taken on my Razr. I could literally text the photos to Blogger, Twitter, or even Facebook and then eventually I could use e-mail to send pics. Usually the e-mail I'd send photos from was from an e-mail that may contain my phone number. Then later that became outmoded and eventually to share photos to social media one needed an app. Then by 2012 here comes Instagram and it became easier than ever.

Recently I have transitioned not to the latest iPhone, but the iPhone 6S plus. It's an oversized phone - well a "phablet" to be more precise - but the larger screen I was keen on trying out. Of course I had a 4.7" screen with the iPhone 6 and it was something of an adjustment from the 3.5" screen size of the 4S.

Having become keen on the olloclip lens I bought for the 6, I opted to only upgrade to the 6S plus because the lenses I bought were only compatible with the form factor of the 6 or 6S plus. In the short term this will save me some money and I can keep snapping pictures on my still new phone. Also I wasn't ready to get a brand new phone although that could happen down the line. Also I never liked the iPhone 7 & 7 Plus because the form factor was too similar to the 6 & 6 plus. Although the cameras were far different than with the previous phones, the 7 Plus had dual cameras on the back of the device.

I'm elated that the iPhone 8 & 8 Plus has somewhat returned to the form factor of the iPhone 4 & 4S. There's still a 4.7" & 5.5" screen however this time the touchscreen isn't surrounded by a metal body. Basically the metal parts of the phone is sandwiched by glass. Glass for the touch screen on front of phone, and of course glass on the back of phone. The only difference from four generations ago in addition to the larger screen side is the phone is much thinner.

And since the iPhone is now 10 years old essentially there is an premium anniversary edition called the iPhone X - btw X=10 so not merely iPhone X but iPhone 10. Now this iteration of the iPhone will be available by November and this version I'm definitely iffy about. It certainly resembles somewhat the android phones that I've noticed - say a Samsung - many are far more fond of for a variety of reasons I'll allow android users to explain. In fact the new iPhone releases this year only sparked this debate between iPhone and androids.

With this being said who knows if iPhone is losing it's position as far as smartphones. Apple could at some point lose its leadership and nothing is forever. Then again since the original iPhone had been announced in 2007, the mobile phone world changed rapidly since that time. And it will continue to change in the future.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thank the British if you live in freedom

[VIDEO] John Ruberry posted this video from Prager U. with regards to the British Empire expanding around the world this idea of freedom throughout it's almost worldwide empire. Remember the United States of America was once part of the British Empire until the American Revolution - probably caused by "benign neglect".

Of course Ruberry brings to mind his Irish ancestors and British rule over Ireland that may cause questions to be asked over Britain's ideas of liberating these many lands. Better yet, their role in keeping peace between warring tribes. Allowing people to maintain their cultures and customs although having a strong sense of right & wrong still might put their foot down on practices they may see as barbaric - such as what's noted in the video the live burning of widows.

I just know that there are going to be those who because the British conquered so much land on the globe for so many years that many will attack this video. Yeah when the British landed in the Americas they came into contact with the American Indian or native American and unfortunately there were some skirmishes and even disease that began to lower their numbers. Same for the Aborigines of Australia or even the Maoris of New Zealand. Yeah we may even discuss the role of the British in the Atlantic slave trade although they ultimately resolved to end Slavery in their territories and end the slave trade.

The bad news today is the emphasis has become demonizing certain groups of people. Unfortunately we know so much about the oppression caused by Europeans on different ethnicities or race. The various nations of Europe have over the centuries been at war with each other and sometimes there were some oppression or genocide. These days we know about the Europeans and their brutal colonialism in the Americas, Africa, or Asia.

It was pointed out that for the most part former colonies of Britain often hadn't fallen into the trap of dictatorial governance. Unfortunately I'm not sure that's true, look at Nigeria, Zimbabwe, perhaps to a lesser extent South Africa - where the white minority chose to subjugate the non-white majority which probably is  a worse form of segregation that what we may know of the American south. British colonialism isn't perfect and more so than the end of British colonial rule.

Then again we see some parallels with for example Iraq and Afghanistan after removing their respective regimes during the course of the War on Terror we installed more liberal democracies in those nations. The results from what I've seen has been less than ideal in both countries and both are still dealing with radical Islamic fundamentalist movements in those nations, especially Afghanistan since after 9/11/2001 we removed the ruling Taliban regime from power.

In both of those examples it was certainly foolhardy to even think we should nation-build. With this in mind we could always look at the British example when we may make the ultimate decision to go toe-to-toe with a regime who proves uncooperative as far as their threat to the world.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Smear

I just had to address this National Review article with regards to "toxic masculinity" especially this excerpt:
If men are not told to be “gentlemen,” some will be emasculated, but more will become destructive men. If men are not trained by good men, they will be trained by bad men; if they have no good males to follow, they follow bad ones. The Left routinely speaks about a world run by women and why such a world would create better men. But the most male-free environment in America exists in black communities, where well over half of black children grow up without fathers. This hasn’t made black boys less violent; it’s made them far more prone to criminality than their non-black peers. Many of these boys follow teenage role models, many of whom have lacked fathers themselves, and lack the training to be a gentleman. They live in a world of risk that requires masculine defense but have no one to teach them to distinguish between defense and aggression.
Of course the gist of the article is namely about the idea of "toxic masculinity" in general and the general answer to it which includes emasculation. Perhaps there are a segment of parents that want to take away from boys the aspects of what makes them boys. That may include the energy which also entails aggression.

Now this I wanted to discuss with regards to Black fathers and Black boys. Why aren't there many Black fathers in Black communities? Are they all in prison? Are they avoiding the women they have babies with? Are the women who had the babies chasing the men away after giving birth? Are the men engaged in high risk activities that either result in them going to prison for an extended stretch of time or otherwise are in the grave?

I can buy the idea that the boys who are left behind are looking for in role models the wrong type of men. That is the type of men who only can cause real serious trouble that can lead to these high risk activities that could either place them in prison or death. And yes sometimes these role models are emasculated.

I suppose if you believe this article there is a war on men. Masculinity is under attack and there is an attempt to redefine this aspect of manhood. It doesn't matter if the subject are bad men it seems the subject of this so-called toxic masculinity are also gentlemen. Boys want to be men, but they need examples of good men. At an impressionable age they may not get that and perhaps we get some of the issues we have now!

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11, 2001

This morning I was listening to Mancow and on occassion they will play audio from that very day. I was listening to Mancow on that day and while it didn't process in my mind what they were seeing live on TV in their radio studio I would see it live later. It gave me goosebumps as they played the audio again and again.

I have nothing really to add in discussing this. We're still fighting terrorism and not just Islamic fundamentalist terror. I believe men are good, but unfortunately there are a segment of men who are bad. We saw them in action for sure on 9/11.

Either way hit that Sept. 11 tag to see other posts that mark this infamous day. And for you enjoy and like this ig post from Alex Ross, who is a comic book artist. This painting and other paintings of superheroes are without a doubt realistic. I'm a fan even if for the moment he's not doing my favorite DC Comics characters such as Batman or Superman.

For today, I'm a fan of his work and wish I could buy a print of what you will see below!
A post shared by Alex Ross (@thealexrossart) on

Sunday, September 03, 2017

VIDEO: One simple solution to brutal Illinois tax hikes

[VIDEO] At the expense of being accused of copyright infringement I just had to upload this editorial by the General Manager of our local FOX affiliate Dennis Welsh. With that in mind what you see above isn't owned by me, merely uploaded - unlisted - to my YouTube account. It is for educational purposes and for the sake of history that must be preserved.

Here's the pension language in the Illinois constitution contained in section 5 of article XIII. What's been put in bold were emphasized in the video above.
SECTION 5. PENSION AND RETIREMENT RIGHTS

Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality thereof, shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

(Source: Illinois Constitution.)
In 2008, this state had the opportunity to vote in favor of a state constitutional convention and it could've address this pension language. Unfortunately voters in Illinois voted against a convention because many arguments against this involved pensions.

Now with an income tax hike, sales tax in Chicago, and even a potential property tax increase for Chicago schools are mostly for pensions. As one of the people in the video above states less money for the students, for roads, or for police most of that money is going for public employees' - yes I'm including teachers in that - retirement!

To this I say what a shame! We've gotten ourselves in this mess and it's hard to get out because these government employees want their generous pensions. Taxes are going up because we can't afford them and it seems they will continue to go up as long as they use Illinois' constitution framework to fight any attempt to reform this system. It needs reform for sure!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

What's going on in America

I want to be honest and state that it wasn't easy for me to write this post. To start I will always state that the idea of "white supremacy" is always worth opposing as it's considered very abhorrent to the nation that we want. However, I consider how much of a dying idea it has been and isn't really worth what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Today my biggest concern isn't any resurgent white supremacist movement as it could be the groups whether we call them the "alt-left" or "antifa" who have pledged to oppose them. We're seeing extreme efforts to not trigger bad feelings in different groups for example ESPN pulled an announcer from a football game because of his name - an Asian man's name is similar to the name of a Confederate general in the Civil War. Even worse a mascot name of a California university resembled the name of a horse owned by this same Confederate general - OMG TRIGGERED.

Political correctness in this great nation is starting to become problematic and it's causing us to make some causations that aren't there. I may understand the protest of Confederate monumnets thanks to the popular idea that the Confederate States of America generally supports slavery. Changing names and holding against a man who in reality has no bone in the continuing observance of the Civil War is starting to go too far.

Another aspect of this is identity politics. Years ago Martin Luther King Jr made a nice speech about recognizing a person not for the color of his skin, but the content of his character. Unfortunately I'm seeing on social media posts about punching Nazis and even worse the person you punch may in fact not be a Nazi. Even worse still the people who pledge to fight racism instead think it's OK to castigate an entire race of people for crimes of centuries past.

With this in mind now I somewhat understand what set up Charlottesville. Unfortunately the white supremacists who attempted to rally in that Virginia town got their points made. And the "alt-left" and "antifa" movements are continuing their fight, what I have to figure out what is the end goal in using violent or disruptive tactics in a fight against racism.

Often when we see "antifa" in action - primarily through social media, FOX News, or even other alternative media - they're often wearing masks. They're fighting the good fight however they don't want to be seen. Another tactic they counter demonstrate, however, it's not because they disagree with an opposing point of view. On the contrary they find ways to demonize the other side.

To be honest I'm struggling to come up with a conclusion. So let me keep it simple demonizing an opposing viewpoint in a land with free speech is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately if this has been something that has been going on for years Charlottesville has become the results.